Faculty Profile – Susan McLucas

Susan McLucas

Classes taught: Bicycle Riding for Beginners

Teaching with the Center since: More than 20 years!

Bike riding

Susan (at left) with her students
bike1.jpg
Susan McLucas has taught with the Center for more than 20 years. When not teaching riding, she works with Healthy Tomorrow, a group that fights female genital mutilation in Mali and around the world.

How did you start teaching bike riding?

I wanted to be involved in the bicycle world. I was a mechanic, and I thought it’d be fun to do something more people oriented, and I had some friends I had already taught. I noticed what an empowering thing it was for people. People would say “I’m okay, I know how to ride a bike now; I’m normal!”

I started out just doing it one by one, and then the Learning Annex (an adult ed center based out of NYC) came to town, and they asked me if I would do a group session. As soon as the first class started gathering, I realized how nice it is for the students to have each other.

How’s the class work?

We meet at my house near Davis Square, Somerville and walk bikes to the Powderhouse School. I have a fleet of bikes that students can rent, or you can bring your own. Then we head to the bike path in Davis Square. The maximum is 8 students per class. We meet four times and it varies how quickly people pick it up. Everyone does get it—virtually every student learns to ride. The last class is a picnic celebration and everyone brings food. We’ve been doing it like this for 15 years.

What are the students like?

It’s a complete range. People in our classes at the Cambridge Center are anywhere from 20-somethings to people in their seventies and occasionally eighties. Maybe around half of my students are from other countries. Many are fulfilling a decades-old dream. It makes it extra fun when there’s a little extra drama—a woman who’s so petrified she doesn’t even want to come back (but she does) or a man who doesn’t want to be there, but has promised his wife he’d learn to ride. No matter the particular circumstances, everybody leaves happy.

The great thing is, after all this time it never gets old.  It’s always just as great when someone learns to ride.

The next Bicycle Riding for Beginners course begins on September 30th. Register here. >>

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